Thursday, September 24, 2015

ADHD and Learning Differences

  This is a personal post. I want to talk about one of the (BIG) reasons why I believe in hands-on, FUN learning for young children. My son is ADHD and a "different" learner. As a teacher/parent, I know what his "IQ" is. He is very smart. However, what happened to him as a young child/student/learner scarred him for life.
  You know those phonics worksheets? Like the ones that are to "practice" beginning sounds. They might show a picture the gate of a fence or a coffee "mug" etc. Well, one day he brought home a sheet with every. single. answer. marked wrong with a big red X and a big fat 0 on his paper!
   Knowing he knew his beginning sounds, I began to ask him why he missed all the answers. I pointed to the "gate" and said, "What is this? What does it start with?" His answer was "fence". "Fence starts with 'f' '". Then when asking about the "mug", he said it was a "cup" and that "cup" begins with "c".
   We went through the entire sheet and for each picture he named, he knew the beginning letter. Soooo....I went to talk to the teacher. I was told that she gave the directions and went over each picture before they were to do the sheet independently and that my son had NOT listened OR followed directions. AND she was RIGHT! However, THAT is a different skill from knowing the beginning sounds of words!! What was the objective of the sheet? Listening and following directions or knowing beginning sounds?
   ADHD children have trouble listening and following directions.
   This is food for thought and NOT meant to point fingers. That experience made me a different kind of teacher. Before grading papers I always made sure I was clear on what the objective was that I wanted to assess. Many times I realized it was just to keep the kids busy while I worked with my small groups (let's be honest here). I thought at the time I was having the kiddos "practice" a certain skill. Well....if a child can do a worksheet without any problem, why give them a worksheet? They already know the skill. If a child can't do the worksheet, why give them the worksheet? They don't have a clue what it's for and will learn nothing from it!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Patterning and Community Helpers

This is the time of the year to study community workers. October is Fire Prevention Month so it makes it especially fun to study and focus on firefighters. However, it is a great time to study about many people who are “helpers” in our community. Here are is an idea of what you can do for your community unit.What a fun way to integrate math and social studies! One of the teachers in our early childhood center made this cute center activity that is a hit with all the kids.
She dressed her kids in community helpers costumes and then took their pictures.  She laminated the pictures and cut them out.
At the pocket chart center the children are suppose to make patterns with the community helpers pictures of each other. (fireman, fireman, vet, fireman, fireman, vet)

I grabbed these pictures real quick (before center time) so I could remember the activity, so the kids have not made patterns with the pictures yet.  I can't wait to try this!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Hi Everyone!  We are sorry about being MIA for the last few months....we have had some family health problems.  Hopefully everything is better now and we can reconnect. 

I don't know about you but as a teacher/mom one of the things that causes the most stress is homework.  As a teacher I always hate to put a great deal of weight on homework grade because I always wonder how much help the students get while doing it.  And as a parent it seems that sometimes we don't get the directions right or even the assignments.  We have created FREE homework calendars for Pk/K for those very reasons.

Each monthly calendar is one page and includes easy, meaningful activities for parents to do with their kids.  For example,

  • Ask your child to follow simple directions of 1 or 2 steps (go to the kitchen, get a spoon).
  • Identify how numbers are used at home. (address, cooking, telephone, etc..) 
  • Draw a picture of something that rhymes with “bat”.
There are "assignments" written on the calendars for all week days.  Weekends and holidays are not included. 

Parents seem to really like the ease of the calendars and are actively involved in their child's learning.

You can get your free calendar here.  All 2015 calendars will be uploaded during the previous month to give you time to print it for your students by the 1st.

Hope your families have fun with these and learn along the way!